Viagra, Cialis users 25% less likely to suffer early death, here are caveats

Can this be considered really hard evidence? A study published on January 13 in Journal of Sexual Medicine found that men who had taken erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs such as Viagra, Cialis or Levitra were 25% less likely to have suffered an early death. And those taking such phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor (PDE-5i) medications were also less likely to have experienced various types of heart problems. But before you assume that these ED drugs will give you more of a “heart on” situation, let’s take a closer look at this study.

This study was actually an analysis of claims data from 23,816 men who had filled at least one PDE-5i prescription for ED from January 1, 2006 to October 31, 2020, compared with claims data from a control group of 48,682 men who had filled out some such recipes. Now, in this case, the claims data was not data about men making claims about their genitalia or their sexual prowess. Rather, it was insurance claims data, which is when you submit a request for your insurance company to pay for something. As a result, such claims data could show what kinds of medical expenses each of these men had, whether it was for prescription drugs, hospitalizations, medical procedures, clinic visits, or other things, and thus provide a picture of what health outcomes each of them had. person had. This insurance claims data came from the HealthCore Integrated Research Database which included over 50 million people covered by commercial health plans in the United States such as health maintenance organizations, points of service, preferred provider organizations, Medicare Advantage, and consumer-directed health plans and indemnity plans.

A research team from Huntington Medical Research Institute (HMRI) in Pasedena, California, (Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD and Julia Bradsher, PhD, MBA), HealthCore Inc. (Eric Stanek, Pharm D, Christopher L. Crowe, MPH , Mukul Singhal, PhD, Rebecca S. Pepe, MPH) and the University of California, San Francisco, CA (Raymond C Rosen, PhD) conducted this study. After identifying these two groups of men – those who had prescriptions for PDE-5is and the control group of those who did not – they used the claims data as well as data from the National Death Index (NDI) to determine the type. of health outcomes the men in these two groups ended up with during the mentioned time period. The NDI is an index you do not need to be listed under, as it is the federal database for all registered deaths in the United States. Using these data sources, the team was able to follow what happened to those in the PDE-5i group for an average of 37 months and those in the control group for an average of 29 months.

So what really stands out about the results of this study? Well, in addition to having a lower death rate, those who had filled at least one prescription for PDE-5is were 13% less likely to have suffered a MACE. Suffering from a MACE did not mean that they had close contact with that BDSM toy that you usually keep hidden in the closet. Rather, it meant they had suffered a serious adverse cardiovascular event (MACE). The research team also found that the PDE-5i group had a 17% lower incidence of heart failure, a 15% lower incidence of having a coronary revascularization procedure, a 22% lower incidence of unstable angina, and a 39% lower incidence of death. for cardiovascular reasons.

Additionally, compared to the 25% of men who had filled the lowest number of PDE-5i prescriptions for an average of 5.5 tablets per person, the 25% of men who had filled the largest number of PDE-5i- prescriptions averaging 191.2 tablets per person were 55% less likely to have suffered a MACE and 49% less likely to have died during the follow-up period.

Before you get too excited about these results, though, keep in mind that this study was full of limitations. Such an observational study simply cannot prove cause and effect. It may only show potential associations, since there may have been a number of different reasons why men who happened to be taking PDE-5is may have been less likely to die. For example, when you take ED drugs, chances are you will soon want to have sex. That’s because you usually don’t take ED meds just for the heck of it, just to get a job interview, or just to stand out from the crowd so to speak. And when you’re having sex regularly, there’s a good chance you’re already reasonably healthy. Sex is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you experience symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath.

Also, the study focused on ED drugs paid for by insurance and did not account for ED drugs obtained through other means such as from a website, friends, or random strangers throwing ED drugs at you. Therefore, the study may not have accurately captured who actually took such ED medications.

This is not to say that the study was a case of erection fraud. Although your penis may not be directly connected to your heart (at least physically), what affects the blood vessels in your penis can also affect the coronary arteries that supply blood to your heart and the arteries that lead from your heart. That’s because PDE-5 works by blocking phosphodiesterase enzymes in general and not just the enzymes in your penis, hence the name. They are not penile phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors or PPDE-5is. Phosphodiesterase enzymes are located in the smooth muscles that line the walls of blood vessels throughout the body. Normally, these enzymes break down cAMP and cGMP molecules in these muscles, leading to higher levels of these molecules which in turn result in decreased calcium levels. Lower calcium levels can cause the smooth muscles to relax and thus the blood vessels to dilate.

So what happens when the blood vessels in the body dilate? Well, your penis, if you happen to have one, should have blood vessels. When these blood vessels dilate and fill with blood, that’s when you get that funny thing called an erection. And that folks is how Viagra, Cialis, Levitra and other such ED drugs work.

So how can you take these mechanisms to heart? Previous studies have suggested that PDE-5is can potentially increase the amount of blood that the coronary arteries supply to the heart muscles. They can also reduce the stiffness of your arteries in general, so your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood throughout your body. PDE-5is can potentially reduce inflammation or prevent platelets from clumping together.

Again, this last one Journal of Sexual Medicine studies alone should not be enough to argue that such drugs can prevent heart problems or help you live longer. More studies are needed to determine whether this may actually be the case. So don’t start taking Viagra, Cialis, Levitra or any other phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor regularly just because you want to prevent heart problems or live longer. Don’t treat such erectile dysfunction medications like candy. They can come with side effects so to speak. And some of these side effects may stand out more than others.

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